Musician’s Corner: Get Loaded
I was tuned into a rock radio station in southern California once when the DJ mentioned three stages of partying that most bands and musicians pass through:
Stage 1 – All fun
Stage 2 – Fun with problems
Stage 3 – All problems
Now I found these very interesting because of their ridiculous simplicity. Think about your own partying career… these stages probably ring true. In the beginning, partying is nothing but fun and adventure. Things sometimes seem better with your drinks or drugs of choice in the mix. Colors appear brighter, music sounds better, and the world seems a bit less nasty (stage 1). Fast forward a few years though, and the fun starts to include consequences. Trouble seems to find its way into your life, your relationships, and your livelihood (stage 2). Eventually, if you end up in that 10% who cannot seem to control it anymore, the fun disappears all together, and life becomes dark and unmanageable (stage 3). At this third stage, never mind your music career, now you’ve got to manage this monkey on your back.
Maybe we ought to reconsider the art of “getting loaded.” Instead of loading up on chemicals, how about loading up on some character, instead of scoring drugs, how about getting some direction, instead of guzzling more booze, how about gaining some boundaries, because you know the old saying: if you snooze, you lose. Maybe its time to start spending more time working instead of getting wasted; making progress instead of living a life of excess. This is hitting some of you right now where it hurts. How do I know? Because it happened to me. We can argue about a lot of things, but we can’t argue with the real-life experiences of others.
So what’s the message here? Is this an AA meeting or something? Nah… just a not-so-gentle reminder to pay attention to some things that most people ignore: your mental and physical health. Without them, you have no long-term music career. Trust me; my life has been anything but squeaky-clean, tea-totaling. I know what it’s like face down in stage 3… and it ain’t a rock-n-roll fantasy I can assure you of that.
Before you get your panties in a bunch about the serious tone of this article, remember that this stuff is serious. So if you truly take your music career (and your life for that matter) seriously, then all aspects of it deserve attention. This just happens to be a subject that most people don’t like to talk about. If you’re one of the few who don’t partake, congrats! You’re just that much closer to making your dreams a reality.
The Bottom Line: Look for the similarities here, not the differences. These stages are progressive… meaning you will move into the next stages if you keep on, keeping on. It’s not a matter of if, but when. There will inevitably come a time when one’s thinking needs to shift from getting “loaded” to loading up on activities that build foundations and avoid frustrations; habits that bring admiration, not intoxication. Get rich with ideas and actions to further your music, your career, and your life.
So which stage are you at right now? Which direction do you really want to go? At some point you’re gonna have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. Remember, we only get one chance to use our time wisely… this time, right now. What are you gonna do?
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